Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Murder of Hayley Curtis

On 4 January 2002, the body of 23-year-old Hayley Curtis was found in a shallow grave beside the A3 near Petersfield, north of Portsmouth in Hampshire.

Hayley had been jumped on whilst lying down which had caused serious damage to her spine and ribs.

She left her home in the Mile Cross area of Norwich on 16 October 2001, with a 56-year-old gypsy by the name of Philip Stanley. The police said that he met Hayley and her mother at the Ferry Boat pub in Norwich and was last seen leaving the city in his truck.

Two months later, Hayley's family reported her missing and officers traced Stanley to the Fern Hill travellers' site at Harlow, Essex. and spoke to him. He disappeared immediately afterwards and turned up in Ireland on 5 January 2002.

Stanley, the father of at least 13 children and an inveterate career criminal, soon came to the attention of the police in Ireland and appeared at Bantry District Court where he was formally charged with assault and causing harm to a woman on 22 January 2002.

On 1 February 2002, he appeared under the name Duke Lee (he is known to have at least 12 aliases) at Bandon District Court on another, more serious, assault charge and was subsequently extradited to England.

In Norwich Crown Court, he admitted having been with Hayley when she died but claimed she died of natural causes as they prepared to have sex. After the jury found him guilty of murder, Mrs Justice Cox said:

"In the short time she was with you, you were repeating the pattern of violence against women with whom you had previously lived. This has been a feature of your conduct and your temper over the years. I have seen no signs of remorse at any point in this trial...

It has been established clearly that you obviously regularly committed the most appalling acts of violence, humiliation and degradation on them over a lengthy period of time from the date of your marriage to Wendy Stanley and from 1994 to 2001 when Fiance eventually fled from you in terror. I regard you as someone who presents a serious and significant risk to women and there is a real need to protect women from you...

You also made an attempt to conceal Hayley's body, keeping it somewhere unknown until the police saw him, and made inquiries about Hayley...

Before fleeing to Ireland you took her to the remote and secluded spot where you placed her in a shallow grave. You no doubt expected she would not be discovered and it was only by chance that she was."
The court heard that Stanley's partner, Fiance Richards, had fled with her three children in October 2001 after years of gratuitous violence, fearing he would kill her.

Wendy Stanley, his previous wife and mother of nine of his children, had also described many years of abuse at his hands.

After the trial it emerged that other women had also been violently abused by Stanley.

In November 2005, Philip Stanley was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve he serve at least 21 years in jail.

Hayley is seen here with the vicious brute who killed her:

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